I am blessed with a good memory of my childhood (which is strange in and of itself as I often can’t remember what I ate yesterday). I lived in a time where we could leave our doors open, when there weren’t leash laws so dogs followed the children playfully throughout the neighborhood, a time where mud pies and ‘lightening bugs’ were the highlight of a summer, and a time where the biggest worry was what everyone was going to wear the first day of school. The neighborhood I grew up in is now one that no one would want to drive through without being fully armed, but when I lived there it was full of young families where every mother knew every child and didn’t hesitate to scold you and send you home for dinner.
Summers were spent outside since there weren’t a lot of families with video games. My family bought a Nintendo64, but we were the kids that would rather play flashlight hide and seek rather than be inside with the ‘old people’. One of my memories isn’t just one at all. Nearly every day I spent time laying at the top of the big hill of our driveway staring up at the clouds watching them morph from dinosaurs to Volkswagens. I could do that for hours, and often did when time permitted. It was laying there and looking into the blue sky that I began to dream of a future I could hardly imagine. As a child, it was hard for me to think past Christmas that year, let alone ten or fifteen years ahead. It wasn’t until the game MASH became popular that made me really start to give my future self some thought. I had big dreams. I was going to live in a Mansion, marry Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block, drive a red mustang, live in California, have 3 kids, and be a teacher. Yes, I was going to be very happy and this little game started my most memorable childhood dream.
Naturally, I knew I wasn’t going to marry Donnie Wahlberg, but everything else seemed plausible in my mind though I later changed my idea of a Mansion to a really nice middleclass brick home. The only thing that really panned out was that I am a mother to three children. In my dreams, I never really considered becoming pregnant at 18, dropping out of college, spending three years as a single mom, eventually marrying the father of my son, and struggling to just stay within the lower-middle-class spectrum. Those weren’t my dreams at all, even sans the MASH game.
For years I struggled with this. I had to let my childhood dreams go and welcome reality. I realized that the loss of my dreams didn’t change the quality of the life I’ve lived. We have finally landed squarely in a decent home, have an SUV big enough to cart around a 10, 11, and 15 year old, a retirement plan, and while I’m not a teacher, I get to play one at home when homework is too hard. Dreams have a way a making one feel inadequate when they don’t come true, but I’m just happy to have what I have.
This is my submission to the weekly writing prompt from Studio Thirty Plus
3 thoughts on “To Dream or Not To Dream”
I’m somehow saddened by your post only because of your final words “Dreams have a way a making one feel inadequate when they don’t come true.”
I’d love to go on and on about how wrong I think that line is, but… I’m a dreamer. A constant dreamer. I still fabricate objects with clouds, and sing out loud when I ride my bike. When a dream doesn’t come true, I don’t feel like a failure, I just cling to that dream nonetheless because it gives me hope. I was meant and pre-destined to be a circus clown. I am not a circus clown. But I take the essential of what being a circus clown has always meant to me such as make people smile, do goofy stuff, and help make others feel good about themselves on any given opportunity to make the dream come alive in my own denial kinda way… You know what I mean?
Write down your childhood dreams and see in which way you can live them out today. You’re not a failure – you’ve got 3 kids! That in itself FAR surpasses marrying one of the new kids on the block because you yourself has delivered 3 new kids to the block where you live. Oh yeah. A total turn around… 🙂
I’ve really always been a dreamer – or at least until recently. Seeing the downward spiral that my life is becoming with my husband makes me feel like a failure. I had so many dreams that involved him. We have been together (hit or miss) since I was 13 years old. The realization that we will likely not make it to our 14th wedding anniversary next year makes me feel as if those dreams were unrealistic, like somehow I’ve led myself into believing in something that just cannot be. I would love to look back and be the dreamer I’ve always been, my picture is the word Dream, this blog’s meaning is about dreams, but I’ve lost my ability to see past a lot of things – I fear I have become quite jaded.
Your idea of writing down the old dreams, that’s somewhere I will likely start to get my old self back. You’re always so good at inspiration, thanks a million times over 🙂
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Failure is a word that shouldn’t exist. You’re on the verge of a transition and think of a waterfall. Sure, the river probably feels like a failure as it’s falling but then look at where goes after – a bigger river and new horizons – unexpected directions…
I hear ya though. I need constant reminders because I instantly feel like a failure when goals aren’t met. Just focus on the good that will come. Because good always does come.